The Fake ESP Thread

The Fake ESP Thread

Pushead and I are here to help verify ESP and LTD guitars. If you have, or are looking to buy a guitar that you're unsure of, post pictures and questions in this thread. Please post clear pictures of the front and back of the headstock, the fretboard, and the front and back of the body. Preferably before you buy anything.

Anyone else is free to offer suggestions on authenticity. If you answer a post, please tell us why you think it's real or fake.

Oliver S.



I just got a brand-new ESP SV E II in black.

This guitar doesn't have an EMG Pa2 booster.. but according to ESP website the series standard seems to have one.


Is it maybe a fake?


We'd need photos to be able to tell.

But if you bought it from a reputable shop, the odds are pretty low. Have you tried to pull up the tone pot (or push in, ESP likes to use push/push pots instead of push/pull.)

Martín  O.

Hi i got this LTD a while ago and I would like to know if it is an original LTD


It's legit.

Wes F.

Hey got a guy wanting to trade me this, looks like an Ali express esp. he said he changed the tuners. What say u?





Super fake. I didn't even have to resize the photos to tell.

Alex J.

Hi friends. Looking to join the ESP camp but my local market is riddled with fakes. Saw this one recently on kijiji and am humbly asking for your advice. Thanks in advance!


Smart to ask. Kijiji is notorious for fakes. This one looks to be the real deal. 2005 model.

Although, with the way the intonation is set on the guitar, I'd be careful to see how the tuning is across the neck. Maybe the guitar didn't understand how to set up the intonation, or maybe the bridge is a bit too far toward the stop-bar.

Alex J.

Thank you for your prompt reply and for pointing out the bridge work. Any idea why it would have been set like that? Intentionally to conceal some issue with the neck or bridge? 


Again, many thanks!


It could be a lot of reasons. It may just be where they end up when setting the intonation. But when I see them all up like that it says one of two things to me.

1) The owner didn't know what s/he was doing.

2) The bridge is in the wrong location.

Most of the time I find it's #1. Especially on a production guitar like that Eclipse. But even if it isn't, there is still some room to adjust the intonation sharper (further toward the nut) by rotating the saddles 180 degrees.  If you get a chance to play it in person before making an offer on it, just bring a tuner and see if the pitch of the open string matches the pitch (in full tune) at the 12th. If it matches (or is a touch sharp) it's fine. If the note at the 12th is flat, there may be issues.

Alex J.

Thanks Pushead. I ended up passing on this one after having a discussion with the seller about the tuning - turns out he has issues with intonation. 


That said, another one popped up on Kijiji and I'm planning to go take a look. 


This one is also legit. Good luck.

Lars Tore



First of all, thank you for a GREAT thread. 

Here's a rare gem I'm considering. It's a 1995 Kerry King V.
And considering it's condition, would you say that refinishing it would hurt it, or help it?


Flying Dutchmen

Hi Lars,


I was also in contact with the seller of the KKV Standard, good communication and gives good and open information.

Hard to say how the condition is, the wing tips are covered with tape and it has been heavily (ab)used. So you don't exactly know what is underneath. Though ESP's are built to be used and last.....It is for sure an original ESP. From my perspective if you want it for own use and have a real professional guitar specialist for setup and refurbishment and keep the orginal details in tact I am sure this is a nice gem. From collectors point of view I fully agree with Pushead's statement. 

Guess this is more an emotional than a rational decision


A refinish almost never helps resale value. But if it will make it better in your eyes, go for it. I'd worry about losing the KK signature on the headstock, the logos and the serial number, but a good paint shop may be able to get it to match without losing those parts.

Lars Tore

Yeah, I agree. Unsure what to do here. It’s pretty beat up. 

Seems legit though!


Thanks for getting back to me

Lars Tore

Hi FlyingDutchman


Thanks for the reply. 

I'll ping you if I actually buy it  

Alex J.

Thanks for your help Pushead. I picked up the guitar and it's a beaut. Couldn't have done it without your help.

Now I have ESP gas and another popped up on Kijiji in the color that I originally wanted. 



Alex J.


Congrats, man! Enjoy it!

Post to Thread